How Tony Iommi Realized Eddie Van Halen Was Dying
Tony Iommi said he knew Eddie Van Halen was close to the end of his life by the way his last email had been written.
The Black Sabbath guitarist and his Van Halen counterpart had been friends since their bands first toured together four decades before Eddie, 65, succumbed to cancer in October 2020.
“Well, I knew it was a matter of time,” Iommo told Spin in a recent interview. “But he did contact me. And I could tell. The last email was just before he went into hospital the last time and it was really… You know, some of the words were mixed up, he was obviously sedated or something. But that was the last one I had from him. I really miss him.”
He fondly recalled that they’d always gone out for dinner whenever time and location allowed, and take the opportunity to complain about their respective bandmates. “He’d be going on about Dave Roth, and I’d be going on around about [whoever],” he said. “We’d talk about music and talk about different things. Piss and moan about stuff, you know.”
Iommi added that Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen was also a regular topic of conversation. “Eddie idolized him,” he said. “You know, he really did. We used to talk about Wolfie quite a lot. And when we played in L.A. last time, they all came. Wolfie and Alex and Eddie and the wives. I got some great photos with us all. it was brilliant.”
Asked if he’d ever tried to play guitar in the virtuoso style of his late friend, Iommi laughed: “No, in a word! I mean, he was so good. And he got absolutely amazing at that stuff.” He continued: “But again, when somebody’s done it, to me, I don’t want to be going around doing it; ‘Oh, Eddie Van Halen already does it.’ But I couldn’t actually do it. To be honest, it just wasn’t my style of playing. What he did was just brilliant.”